I'd steal money or merchandise to get my next fix. Then I had to find my connection before I got sick. I was running all the time.
Same when I drank. If I was upright and conscious I needed a drink. If you didn't have anything for me, or if I was broke, then I'd shoplift something to drink from a convenience store.
I was like a rat on a wheel. Running like crazy and going nowhere. Well, maybe to oblivion.
I bring this up because someone mentioned that I seemed busy yesterday. And I was. It started around four a.m. A young small voice whispering on the phone because she didn't want her family to hear her call for help. We talked and texted over several hours before she quit communicating. I hope she's alright.
Then several emails from across the country. Can you help my son? Can you help me? We're broke, but need help. Should I throw him out? Am I enabling him? How can I convince him to change?
These are heart-wrenching questions with a sense of urgency. So I venture my opinion without being judgemental - even though part of me wants to be.
To this long-term addict, the answer is obvious. But to the person who loves them - who has no experience with addicts - it's overwhelming. So I respond kindly and gently and hope that my words give them a shred of something helpful. And inside I pray the addict makes it before it's too late, before they die or suffer irreversible damage.
Later, other calls. One from a halfway house resident letting me know he finally found a job. Trivial to me, but big to him. So I congratulate him and am happy for him.
Being busy is life in the recovery business. It's not punishing work. Not digging-ditches at a 110 degrees. Instead, it's a steady grind of communication from the desperate and angry and sometimes ungrateful.
For protection I spray imaginary teflon on my brain so I can let things slide off and not stick for long - if at all.
And I recall that a lot of kind people were there for me during the 42 years of my active using. And they didn't give up.
And that's why I'm okay being busy today.
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